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US sailor lands in prison for taking classified photos of nuclear sub

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A sailor has been convicted of taking illegal pictures of classified areas of a US Navy nuclear submarine. (AFP photo)

A federal court in the United States has sentenced a Navy sailor to a year in prison for taking photographs of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in the state of Connecticut.

Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, pleaded guilty in May to “foolish mistake” of unauthorized detention of military information, according to the Guardian.

He was facing five to six years in prison under federal sentencing rules and regulations, but on Friday, when the verdict was announced, he got away with only one year in prison for taking six pictures of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine.

A judge also ordered Saucier to serve six months of home confinement with electronic surveillance during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison term. Saucier did not speak during the court proceeding on Friday.

Prosecutors said his photographs described the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment.

His lawyers said Saucier knew about the classified areas of the submarine but took pictures to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy.

“It was a foolish mistake by a very young man,” his lawyer, Greg Rinckey, said after the sentencing. “It’s a very sad case because Kristian Saucier is a fine young man. We don’t believe this was really his true character.”

Rinckey said the Navy is expected to discharge him next month with “other than honorable” treatment.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service could not determine if the photos had been distributed to unauthorized people because Saucier destroyed important evidence after an interview with the FBI in 2012.

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